TBS Today, May 17

We had some inquiries Wednesday afternoon about what appeared to be significant police activity near Oregon and Dohr streets in Berkeley.

The report initially came out as someone who may have been holding their family hostage. Fortunately, BPD told us, it turned out to be much less serious and did not ultimately warrant an article.

At TBS, we always try to answer your inquiries whether it turns into a story or not.

We did write about a bank robbery attempt this morning at the downtown Chase.

Bank robberies are rare in Berkeley but robberies overall are ticking up compared to last year.

Man arrested after Berkeley bank robbery attempt via note
According to BPD data, there have been 117 robberies in Berkeley this year, up 10% from last year.

In case you missed it: The Berkeley City Council discussed some items related to the Berkeley Fire Department on Tuesday night. It was a pretty fascinating discussion if you're interested in fire safety and what Berkeley is doing to prepare.

As we shared in a detailed thread on Twitter, Berkeley has $2 billion in unfunded capital needs related to its buildings, streets and other municipal infrastructure.

On Tuesday night, we learned about another $370 million (estimated) that the fire service says it will need to rebuild and renovate its Berkeley stations and other properties.

The good news? For the most part, it's a long horizon, with plenty of time to come up with a plan.

See our complete Twitter thread to learn more about the preliminary concepts for station renovations. (Remember: No Twitter account is needed to view tweets.)

TLDR: The city will likely be looking at a new bond measure for the 2024 ballot to begin to tackle this and other infrastructure work.

By the way, we reported yesterday in our newsletter that no council action was planned Tuesday night — which wasn't quite right. Council did vote to accept BFD's Community Wildfire Protection Plan (which we did not tweet about) but took no other action.

RESTAURANT FUNDRAISER: This was over the border in Oakland but we heard this week about a fundraiser that's been launched to help Al-Maida Hot Food and Market on Market Street. According to one of the owners, someone used a truck to ram their way into the business, which took down the counter, too.

When a neighbor went to investigate, occupants from the truck reportedly opened fire and then fled the scene. No injuries were reported but the damage appears to have been substantial. Many people love this family business and we wanted to let folks know how they might help.

"Anything that is contributed by the community will help get the business running again," Hina Akbar wrote on GoFundMe.

RABIES ALERT! In other news, community members told us about a notice they got from the city late last week regarding a rabid bat that had been found in central Berkeley. We heard about it from someone in the 2100 block of Roosevelt Avenue.

The city said it found the bat May 6: "There may be other rabid bats still undiscovered." Anyone with concerns can call Berkeley's Animal Shelter at 510-981-6600.

"Do not touch or allow your children or pets to come into contact with any bats and/or any other animals exhibiting strange or unusual behavior," the city wrote.

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